Psychosocial applications of technology for health and wellness coaching of older adults with dementia and mild cognitive impairment and their carers in rural areas

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Early Stage Researcher (ESR7)

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Mauricio Molinari Ulate

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Prof Manuel Franco Martin

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Dr Henriette van der Roest

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Hola, my name is Mauricio Molinari Ulate and I am a psychologist from Costa Rica. I graduated from Universidad de Costa Rica where I obtained my psychology degree and from University of Glasgow with a MSc. in Applied Neuropsychology.

Throughout my studies, I have been working around the use of technology for the assessment and rehabilitation in clinical neuropsychology and the development of assistive technologies for cognition (ATC). As part of my master thesis, I, along with my colleagues at Glasgow, developed and provided initial validation of a Virtual Reality shopping errands task for use in brain injury rehabilitation.

Recently, I worked as the clinical neuropsychologist of the Gerontology Unit for the attention of people with cognitive impairment-Alzheimer and other dementias in Costa Rica. This experience led me towards a project that combines the application of new technologies and psychosocial interventions on older adults with dementia and cognitive impairment.

Therefore, I am delighted to become an ESR of the DISTINCT project, which aims to improve health care and quality of life of its target population.

Start date December 2019
Duration 36 months


To develop a proof of concept of a technological platform integrating several innovative digital tools for health and wellness coaching of older adults with dementia and cognitive impairment and their carers, and to study the effects of utilisation of the platform on physical health, mental and emotional wellbeing, activities of daily living, social and cognitive functioning and professional care use. To involve older adults with dementia and their carers in the design and development of the platform, assessing their satisfaction, the impact of the system in realistic settings, acceptability and usability, to enables them to manage the system autonomously in daily life.

Expected Results

An evidence base for the efficacy of a combination of psychosocial interventions, both as a systematic intervention combination for therapies with high level evidence base but low compliance in real life and cost-effectiveness data, and as a pragmatic controlled trial comparing strategies that require efficacy evidence:

  1. Usefulness and effectiveness of personalized recommendations and follow-up to promote physical, cognitive, mental and social well-being.
  2. Validation of non-obtrusive technology for physical, cognitive, social and mental well-being.
  3. Evidence of user-centred design and innovation, new intuitive ways of human-computer interaction, and user acceptance.
  4. Potential cost-effectiveness due to enhanced self-care, life-style and care management.

Planned secondment(s)

Two for 3 months each. The first in year one with VUMC months to ascertain the feasibility of applying this platform to dementia Meeting Centers and the second in year 3 with MindTech UoN to assess the feasibility of the platform and its applicability in the UK.



Gianna Kohl, Mauricio Molinari Ulate, Jem Bhatt, Katrina Scior, Georgina Charlesworth. Factors associated with self-disclosure among people diagnosed with a neurological disorder. PROSPERO 2020, CRD42020192495. Available here.


  1. Molinari Ulate, M., Mahmoudi, A., Parra Vidales, E., Muñoz Sánchez, J.L., Franco Martin, M.A., & van der Roest, H.G. (2021, July 26-30). Comprehensive Geriatric Assessments for long-term and home care settings and digital platforms available to support their applicability: A Systematic Review [Poster presentation]. 2021 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. Virtual, Denver, USA
  2. Mahmoudi, A.*, van der Roest, H.G., Molinari Ulate, M., & Franco Martin, M.A. (2021, July 26-30). Methodologies used to study the effectiveness of social robots in long-term and community care settings [Poster presentation]. 2021 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. Virtual, Denver, USA. (*presenting author)
  3. Kohl, G.*, Molinari Ulate, M., Bhatt, J., Lynch, J., Scior, K., & Charlesworth, G. (2021, November 10-13). Individuals’ decision to disclose a diagnosis of dementia and the development of an online empowerment intervention [Oral presentation]. 2021 Annual Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America. Virtual. (*presenting author)
  4. Kohl, G.*, Molinari Ulate, M., Bhatt, J., Scior, K., & Charlesworth, G. (2021, July 26-30). Factors associated with disclosing a diagnosis of dementia to one’s social network: A systematic review [Poster presentation]. 2021 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. Virtual, San Diego, USA. (*presenting author)